When it comes to your bike bearings, at Airevelo we believe that prevention is better than a cure. Our team have a wealth of experience when it comes to bikes and bike wheel bearings, so should you not, don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Bearings are a very important part of your wheels, headset and bottom bracket, preventing them from becoming worn and corroded is required to ensure that your bicycle runs how it should. By not taking care of your bike, you’re increasing the risk of problems occurring at some of the worst times.
Considering when to replace sealed units can be difficult, a few simple checks can help you though, by assessing the condition of the bottom bracket bearings, this may involve unshipping the chain and spinning the crack, you should then be able to hear it or feel it in the frame. Hold the seal-stay whilst the crank is spinning, if you can hear the worn bearings, then it should also be felt in the feel of the frame. When it comes to the replacement, this will involve which of the numerous BB standards your frame will use, it’s also important to remove the chain set.
Another way to assess the condition of wheel bearings includes suspending the bike and taking a look at how quick the spin up speed is, lifting up the cam lever on the brake calliper will ensure the pad rub doesn’t inform your judgement. Should you want to investigate further, then when examining the wheel bearings, if your wheels use cartridge bearings that require more than a little removing of the wheel, then look out for if the quick release skewer and in the case of the rear wheel and cassette. Next prise off the seal and if your wheels use a cup-and-cone system, then unscrewing the cone will also be required.
Wearing in the headset bearings will usually be easily accessed through play, roughness or you’ll see a brown fluid that will run from the lower bearing down the back of the fork. If you’d like to delve deeper and make a more visual check then remove the front wheel and front brake. Unscrew the stem top cap and clamp bolts and once the expander bolt has been slackened off, lift the stem clear of the fork steerer tube. If the bike is suspended, place one hand beneath the fork crown to prevent it from falling off.
Once you have access to the headset bearings, you can decide how best to carryout out a bike bearing repair or replace them. Plain steel bearings tend to rust quickly, so at Airevelo, this is something we do not recommend. Stainless bearings tend to be a better option and you don’t have to worry about headset bearings being expensive.
If you want to do a full and efficient bike bearing replacement then remove the seals and degrease the bearings, removing any debris with an airline is also a great idea, an airline will help to get rid of grime in those hard to reach places. Once the cleaning has taken place, degrease the bearings, replace the deals and return the fork and stem-handlebar unit to position.
Many cyclists believe that just because their bike is clean, their bearings are also in good condition. A regular cleaning regime will create water ingress, which means, if the bike is used regularly, it will be free from seizing up. If you feel stiffness in the bike that occasionally suddenly loosens, then it’s time to replace this bearing. Experiences of riders who washed their bikes prior to winter storage then rebuilding them in the spring time have resulted in things seizing up.